Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned of possible abuses of power during the current state of emergency, saying the principle of the rule of law had been effectively abolished by the proclamation of an emergency.
He said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s minority government “has now gained absolute power to rule” as anything done under emergency rule in the name of the King could not be questioned or brought up at Parliament.
“Effectively the rule of law has been abolished. We are assured that the intention is good. But when absolute authority is given, breaches and abuses will happen,” he wrote in a blog article today.
He questioned how the enhanced powers would enable the prime minister to address the problems brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The best brains in the world are finding it difficult to stem the numbers of new cases. Can the prime minister with his power to jail people for up to 10 years and impose a fine of RM5 million reduce the number of cases?” he said.
Mahathir, who is MP for Langkawi, said there was no need for emergency powers to deal with Covid-19 as Putrajaya had all the necessary power under existing laws, and that Malaysians were usually compliant with government directives.
“What is there that the prime minister with his absolute power can do to solve this health crisis?” he said, “One has to remember that it was his decision to seize power in Sabah that was followed with the four-digit increase in the number of new cases. Before that, new cases had dwindled to single-digit.” – FMT